Saturday, December 31, 2011

interview with twenty eleven

i found him out in the desert, where swirling sands erased his feet, his footsteps. i trotted along beside him, notepad and pen in hand, because, he told me, he was drunk with technology and wished to spend his last moments in quietude, unplugged, and required that i do so too. i wasn’t able to jot down all that he said—sometimes he mumbled, sometimes he made little sense—but i got the crux, i think. still, in the end, my notepad flew from my hand in a sudden fierce wind, so this is my impression. i may have got some things wrong.

me  twenty eleven, how would you describe yourself?

te  i don’t know that i can. i’m too close

me  well, do you think we’re headed for chaos? is there hope?

te  headed for chaos? we’ve been in that state for some time now. long before me. it was all i could do to keep my wits. as to hope, there are occasional sparks

me  such as?

te  saying no to bullies and elitists

me  which has added to the chaos ...

te  (stopping, turning to me) whose side are you on?

me  is that what it’s all about—sides?

te  where have you been? there are sides on all sides (a short laugh)

me  hm. (my hm is lost as we lean into a small sandstorm) so, how can we look forward with any degree of certainty or wisdom?

te  (speaking louder) for quite some time now reality has wrestled with pretense so that the two continue in some cartoonish contortion, where you see here an arm, here a leg, and you’re not sure which is whose

me  there will always be those who seek truth, don’t you think?

te  it’s a free world, mostly. getting there, anyway

me  so, what’s salvageable from twenty eleven?

te  now you’re getting personal. (checking his pockets, which are many, some shallow, some deeper than his arms can reach, but not revealing their contents; checking the grit under his fingernails; shrugging) our pursuits will continue, and that which has gone will be lost

me  hm. (more to myself, this time, than to him) back to my original question, which i will rephrase: what do you see when you look in the mirror?

te  (first squinting at the sun, surprised by its brightness, blinking away tears, then looking down at himself, then looking ahead, as if trying to imagine for the first time his true appearance, shrugging again) wait, i think i ... yes (pulling a blindfold from a pocket, shaking it out, tying it around his head) ok ... whoa! i see more of everything. more show, more nature unleashed, more defiance, more humanity, more need, more want, more movement (he dances in the sand as a flock of seabirds pass)

me  do you see less of anything?

te  absolutely: solution, resolution (removing his blindfold)

me  what about love?

te  now you’re talkin’ (striding ahead)

me  grace?

te  huh?

me  wonder?

but i doubt that he heard me. the wind kicked something up from the sand, something shiny, and he went for it.

© 2011 troy howell